Diagram of Chinese Language Courses at Bowdoin College

Click the courses for their descriptions

Diagram of Chinese Courses at Bowdoin College

Chinese Language Course Descriptions

Chinese 1101 Beginning Chinese I.  Every fall.
A foundation course for communicative skills in modern Chinese (Mandarin)., Five hours of class per week plus individual tutorials. Introduction to the sound system, essential grammar, basic vocabulary, and approximately 350 characters. Develop rudimentary listening comprehension and conversational skills. No prerequisite. (Followed by

Chinese 1102)

Chinese 1102 Beginning Chinese II. Every spring.
A continuation of Chinese 1101. Five hours of class per week plus individual tutorials. Covering most of the essential grammatical structures and vocabulary for basic survival needs and simple daily routine conversations. Introduction to the next 350 characters, use of Chinese-English dictionary, principles of character simplification, and Chinese word processing. (Followed by

Chinese 2203)
Prerequisite: Chinese 1101 or permission of the instructor.

Chinese 1103. Advanced Elementary Chinese I. Every fall.
An accelerated course for beginning Chinese designed for heritage speakers and for students who have had some background in Chinese language. Emphasis is on improvement of pronunciation, consolidation of basic Chinese grammar, vocabulary enhancement, reading comprehension and writing. Followed by

Chinese 1104.
Bowdoin College’s Chinese placement test.

Chinese 1104. Advanced Elementary Chinese II. Every spring.
A continuation of Chinese 1103 with further emphasis on consolidation of grammar, vocabulary and character buildup, and all-round development of students’ communicative skills. Goal is to prepare students to move up to 3rd year Chinese (

Chinese 2205).
Prerequisite: Chinese 1103 or instructor’s permission.

Chinese 2203 Intermediate Chinese I. Every fall.
An intermediate course in modern Chinese. Five hours of class per week plus individual conversation sessions. Consolidate and expend the knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, with additional 400 characters. Rigorous training in listening, speaking, reading and writing. (Followed by

Chinese 2204)
Prerequisite: Chinese 1102 or permission of the instructor.

Chinese 2204 Intermediate Chinese II. Every spring.
A continuation of Chinese 2203. Five hours of class per week plus individual conversation sessions. Further Develop students’ communicative competence and strive a balance between the receptive and productive skills. Learn another 400 characters, read longer, more complex texts and write short compositions with increasing discourse cohesion. (Followed by

Chinese 2205)
Prerequisite: Chinese 2203 or permission of the instructor.

Chinese 2205 Advanced-Intermediate Chinese I. Every fall.
A pre-advanced course in modern Chinese. Three hours of class per week. Upgrade all skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, with an emphasis on accuracy and fluency. (Followed by

Chinese 2206)
Prerequisite: Chinese 2204 or permission of the instructor.

Chinese 2206 Advanced-Intermediate Chinese II. Every spring.
A continuation of Chinese 2205. Three hours of class per week. Focus on the development of functional skills in reading and writing, particularly dealing with edited and/or authentic materials from the mass media such as newspapers, TV broadcasting and the internet. (Followed by

Chinese 3307)
Prerequisite: Chinese 2205 or permission of the instructor.

Chinese 3307c. Advanced Chinese I. Every fall.
An advanced course in modern Chinese. Three hours of class per week. Emphasize vocabulary expansion, faster reading speed, better comprehension, and develop more effective communicative skills. 

Chinese 3308c. Advanced Chinese II. Every spring.
A continuation of Chinese 3307. Three hours of class per week. Designed to prepare students to make a successful transition from “textbook Chinese” to the “real world,” linguistically and culturally through independent reading, formal critique, and group discussion. Further enhance the accuracy, complexity, and fluency of students’ expressions.  

For a listing of the current semesters' courses, please see the

departmental course page.


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Guidelines for Independent Study
Students can take Independent Study with a willing instructor individually after they have returned from Study in China, or completed the courses of Advanced Intermediate Chinese (Chinese 2205/2206) when:

  1. a subject is not currently offered within the curriculum at Bowdoin,
  2. a course that culminates insubstantial and original research,
  3. a part of the department honors program.

The possible subject areas of Independent Study may include Classical Chinese, Chinese for special purposes such as business/legal Chinese, Chinese literature and films, Chinese linguistics, Chinese culture and society, etc. Please contact the relevant instructors.


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Chinese Placement Test
The Chinese Placement Test is designed to assess students’ existing Chinese proficiency through their linguistic performance so as to place them in the appropriate course level here at Bowdoin. Incoming students who have had previous knowledge of the language AND want to study Chinese should take this test. The Chinese Placement Test consists of two parts - a written test (about 2 hours) and an oral interview (about 15 minutes). The written test is on a PDF file that can be downloaded from the Bowdoin website, whereas the oral interview is held in late August during the Language Open House in the orientation week for first-year students. We strongly encourage those who can already speak some Chinese but know little about reading and writing to come to the Language Open House, even though they have not taken the written test. There are two versions of the written test - one in traditional characters, the other in simplified ones - but the content is identical. Students may choose to take either version as they prefer. The format of the written test is as follows:

  1. Multiple-choice questions (test of basic sentence structures and usages)
  2. Cloze and Multiple choice (test of reading comprehension and vocabulary)
  3. Answer questions by using words provided (test of reading comprehension and grammar)
  4. Complete a conversation by filling in the missing information (test of various skills)
  5. Short composition (test of writing skills and characters)

Please look at the

Sample Items of the written Placement Testfor further information.

View some sample items of the Chinese Placement Test »


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